Why declare a climate emergency?

Progress needs action. Actions need people. People need empowerment.

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 human deaths per year.

Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health

On 8th October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a vital report on the state of climate science. The Report notes that a rise in global temperatures of 1.5C would result in devastating consequences. Together, we need to do all we can to keep emissions down to a 1.5 degree increase or less, with a target of zero carbon by 2030.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand and decide whether you have enough compassion to not only acknowledge the severity of this situation and declare a climate emergency but also take the actions needed.

Why Dorset?

Both Dorset and Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch (BCP) Councils declared a climate and ecological emergency in 2019. These declarations are based on the scientific evidence that we have around a decade to take the required action to prevent greenhouse gas emissions exceeding levels which scientists agree will lead to irreversible and catastrophic climate change.

Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [1] have identified that the consequences of allowing temperatures to rise by 2 degrees, rather than the 1.5 degree ambition set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, are stark; extreme weather events, rising sea levels, disruption to food supplies and potential societal instability, directly affecting 100’s of millions more people than at 1.5 degrees and indirectly threatening the whole of humanity. Continuing emissions at business-as-usual levels threatens our very existence. With emissions due to exceed the maximum levels required to keep below a rise of 1.5 in the next few years and the limits to obtain a higher that 50% chance of staying within 2 degrees due to be exceeded within 10/11 years we must act now.

Aligned with this we are witnessing an ecological catastrophe where extinction rates are up to 1000 times the underlying natural rate [2] and the very ecosystem that supports human life is under threat.

[1] IPCC Report (2018) https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf

(2019)  https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/

[2] https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.12380

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